Slow cooker chicken curry in a bowl with rice

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A delicious and mild slow cooker chicken curry that is perfect for a make-ahead mid-week meal. Prepare everything in the morning before you go to work and come home to a warm and fragrant curry!

Can you add raw chicken to the slow cooker?

You can absolutely add raw chicken straight into the slow cooker. However, cooking the onion first and sealing the chicken breast adds extra flavour to the dish.

The caramelised onion adds extra richness and the lightly browned chicken pieces will add extra flavour to the chicken. Cooking the spices in the pan first will also help release their fragrance, making the end result extra flavoursome and delicious!

It is, however, a myth that browning the chicken first will lock in the moisture. Any meat releases juices while cooking and there is nothing that can really be done to prevent that.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry in a Bowl

Overall, if you don’t want to do any of the pre-cooking then you can add everything straight into the slow cooker, and it will be absolutely fine, but the initial cook step will elevate your curry from good to awesome.

How can I thicken it?

Depending on how thick you want the curry, and also how much water was in the brand of coconut milk you used, you may find it a little too watery. As the slow cooker doesn’t allow any liquid to evaporate whilst cooking, this can be a common concern with slow cooker recipes.

You can make a cornflour/cornstarch slurry to help thicken the sauce. Use around 1 tsp of cornflour mixed with 2 tsp of water per person. Make sure the cornflour and water are well mixed before adding a little at a time to the slow cooker and stirring well. It may take a minute or two to see things thicken.

If you find that the sauce still isn’t thickening, it may be because the liquid isn’t hot enough to activate the cornflour/cornstarch. This is more likely to happen if you are cooking on ‘low’. You can get around this by tipping the sauce into a saucepan and then gently heating it on the hob/stove. For more information check out my handy guide on how to use cornflour/cornstarch.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry on a counter with garlic and coriander

Can I freeze it?

This recipe is great for freezing. Allow to cool before portioning into freezer proof containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Make sure you thaw the curry fully in the fridge before reheating it. You can reheat in the microwave or on the hob/stove. Make sure the curry is piping hot before serving.

Leftovers can also be left in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated before eating.


You’ll need a few key ingredients for this recipe. For a full list of ingredients with measurements jump to the printable recipe card.

Slow cooker chicken curry ingredients
  • vegetable or canola oil (for frying – or you can use any other flavourless oil)
  • onion – thickly diced
  • chicken breast – diced
  • ginger paste
  • garlic clove – minced
  • cumin
  • garam masala
  • curry powder – use one that has the right amount of spice for your taste!
  • tinned chopped tomatoes
  • coconut milk – standard coconut milk will give the creamiest texture, but you can also use low-fat coconut milk
  • tinned chickpeas
  • fresh coriander, chopped


If you don’t have all the spices specified in the recipe then you can look to switch them out with any of the following (just check the spice levels of what you use as you may want to change the amounts):

  • paprika
  • turmeric
  • chilli powder
  • ground coriander

How to make it

As explained above, sautéing the onion and browning the chicken first adds a great deal of flavour to the final dish. However, if you are really short on time you can skip steps 1 and 2 and add everything straight to the slow cooker.

For a more detailed step-by-step jump to the printable recipe card

First, add the oil to a frying pan over medium heat and when cooked, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the chicken and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Next, add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for a further minute. Then add the cumin, garam masala and curry powder and cook for around 30 seconds, stirring the pan. This allows the spices to ‘bloom’ (release their amazing fragrance and taste).

Next tip the chicken and onion mixture into the slow cooker and then add the tomatoes, chickpeas and coconut milk. Season and stir everything together and then cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on high.

Serve with the chopped coriander sprinkled over the top.

Recipe Steps

If you are looking for more great curry recipes then try this healthy chicken korma, this chicken and red lentil curry or this leftover turkey and sprout curry.

Products that work great for this recipe:

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Slow cooker chicken curry in a bowl with rice

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


A warming, mild and delicious slow cooker chicken curry. Perfect for midweek meals. Prepare everything in the morning and be greeted with a fragrant and easy meal at the end of a hard day! 

The default recipe serves one.


  • 2 tsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, roughly diced
  • 1 small chicken breast, diced (around 120g / 4.2oz)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 100g / 3.5oz tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 60ml / 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 50g / 1.75oz tinned chickpeas
  • few sprigs fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Add the oil to a frying pan/skillet and place over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and saute for around 4-5 minutes until softened. 
  2. Add the chicken and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until sealed on all sides. 
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and stir everything together. Cook for a further minute before adding the cumin, curry powder and garam masala. Stir the spices around the pan for around 20-30 seconds to allow them to release their flavour and fragrance (bloom). 
  4. Tip the chicken and onion mixture into the slow cooker. Pour over the coconut milk, tomatoes and chickpeas. Season and stir everything together. 
  5. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 6-8. Serve with the chopped coriander sprinkled over the top and some steamed rice or naan bread. 


  1. You can skip the pre-frying step if you are short on time. However, sauteing the onion, chicken, garlic, ginger and spices first helps add a lot of flavour to the curry.
  2. If you find that the curry is too thin then you can use 1 tsp of cornflour/cornstarch per person mixed with 2 tsp of water per person. Add a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You may find that you need to transfer the sauce to a saucepan first to properly thicken it as the cornflour requires a fairly high temperature to activate. 
  3. The strength of curry powder you use will affect if the curry is mild or a little spicy. You may want to adjust the amount based on your preferences. 
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Curry
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 500
  • Fat: 24g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 44g

Keywords: curry, indian, slow cooker, chicken, dinner, asian, easy

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